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Brakewoman files grievance

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SALT LAKE CITY — Jen Davidson filed a grievance with the U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton Federation against former partner Jean Racine, demanding a race-off and calling Racine's choice of another brakewoman unfair.

"It's an attempt to follow my Olympic dream," Davidson said. "I would get in anybody's sled to represent my country. If Jean and I raced together at the Games, it would be business, a professional relationship."

The deadline to name Olympic athletes is Jan. 28. A hearing in 30 days — the time allowed for respondents to answer grievances by federation laws — would put the hearing during the Olympics.

If Davidson is denied a hearing, the legal dispute will still go forward, she said.

A week before December's Olympic trials, Racine surprised Davidson when she chose Gea Johnson to be her brakewoman.

Bobsled pilots get to choose their brakewomen, but pilots must follow certain criteria. The process was unfair, Davidson said in her grievance.

Davidson cited her height and weight as advantages over Johnson. She also pointed to her international experience. Davidson won two world championships in four years and earned 21 World Cup medals in the sled with Racine. Though the two struggled this season by their standards, they were tied for No. 3 in the world.

On Dec. 22, Racine and Johnson set a track record at the Olympic trials in Park City. The victory not only put them on the Olympic squad but put them among the favorites when the women's event is run at the Winter Games for the first time.

There was a team race-off two weeks before trials, but Davidson said she didn't compete because Racine told her she didn't need to.

"She had the opportunity to push off," said Matt Roy, executive director of the U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton Federation. "She chose not to."